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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Deep In My Heart (1954) - Star of the month... Gene Kelly

"This is the wonderful thing about music. It is never quite new and never quite the same. And just when you love it best, you think that you have heard it before. And who knows, maybe you have deep in your heart." -  José Ferrer (as Sigmund Romberg in 'Deep in my Heart')

'Deep in my Heart' is a 1954 musical biography directed by Stanley Donen, and starring José Ferrer, Merle Oberon, Helen Traubel, Don Avedon, Walter Pidgeon, Paul Henreid and Jim Backus.

The fantastic Ann Miller in 'Deep in my Heart'
The film is based on the life and music of Sigmund Romberg (played by Ferrer). It features special guest star appearances from  Rosemary Clooney, Gene Kelly, Fred Kelly, Jane Powell, Vic Damone, Ann Miller, William Olvis, Cyd Charisse, James Mitchell, Howard Keel, Tony Martin and Joan Weldon.

Musical program

  • "Overture (Deep in my Heart/When I Grow Too Old To Dream)" - MGM Orchestra & Chorus
  • "You Will Remember Vienna" - Helen Traubel
  • "Leg of Mutton" - José Ferrer & Helen Traubel
  • "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise" - Tamara Toumanova
  • "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise"(Reprise) - Helen Traubel
  • "Mr. and Mrs." - Rosemary Clooney & José Ferrer
  • "I Love To Go Swimmin' With Wimmin'" - Gene Kelly & Fred Kelly
  • "Road to Paradise" - Jane Powell & Vic Damone
  • "Will You Remember (Sweetheart)" - Jane Powell & Vic Damone
  • "Girls Goodbye" - José Ferrer
  • "Fat Fat Fatima" - José Ferrer
  • "Jazza-Dada-Doo" - José Ferrer
  • "It" - Ann Miller
  • "Serenade" - William Olvis
  • "One Alone" - Cyd Charisse & James Mitchell
  • "Your Land and My Land" - Howard Keel
  • "Auf Wiedersehn" - Helen Traubel
  • "Lover, Come Back to Me" - Tony Martin & Joan Weldon
  • "Stout-Hearted Men" - Helen Traubel
  • "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" - José Ferrer

Song: "It" - Ann Miller

Song: "I Love To Go Swimmin' With Wimmin'" - Gene Kelly & Fred Kelly

Song: "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise" - Tamara Toumanova

Closing remarks

A very slow, very boring and very long musical biography. Not surprisingly, the film was not a critical success. Upon it's release, the New York Times said the film "calls for a strong digestive system and a considerable tolerance". 

José Ferrer's performance as Sigmund Romberg is below average at best. His rendition of "When I Grow Too Old To Dream", is probably the worst I have ever heard. :s

It is also a shame William Powell did not appear as Florenz Ziegfeld. While there is nothing wrong with Paul Henreid or his performance,  Powell had previously played Ziegfeld in two films and is considered to be the definitive actor to play this character.

This criticism aside, the film features lots of beautiful music by Sigmund Romberg. I particularly like the way the film opens: prior to the opening credits, we see footage of an extra playing an Overture, which gives us a moment to appreciate the beautiful compositions of Sigmund Romberg, without the distraction of credits.

'Deep in my Heart' also has two fantastic musical numbers... One by the brilliant Ann Miller, the other by Gene Kelly & his brother Fred Kelly (in their only feature film together).

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